Darton walks off with win

Photo by Mike Phillips

Photo by Mike Phillips

LOCUST GROVE -- Darton's Jane Egiazarova was nervous as she stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning of Saturday's Region XVII Tournament semifinal game against Georgia Perimeter at Locust Grove.

"I had butterflies in my stomach," said the sophomore power hitter from Moscow, Russia.

With the score knotted up at 1-1, she tediously worked herself into a full count. Seconds later, she was running into the open arms of her teammates after hitting a walk-off home run to give the Lady Cavaliers a sensational extra-inning victory, 2-1.

Darton coach David Dews said he knew the line drive to center field was gone as soon as the ball left her bat.

"She put the sweet spot on the ball, and it just jumped out of there," said Dews, who had just told his team to put the ball into play and not worry about hitting a home run. "Really, when it came off the bat, everybody knew."

Everybody except Egiazarova, who said she didn't realize she had won the game until she passed first base.

"I was running so hard," she said in a phone interview Saturday night. "I was saying, 'Get out. Please get out.'"

With the thrilling win, Darton now plays in today's championship game at 1 p.m. against either Georgia Perimeter or Middle Georgia. The winner of the Region XVII title gets an automatic bid to the NCJAA College World Series.

Katy Lewis threw all nine innings for Darton and allowed just two hits -- a performance typical for the freshman, who had the third-best ERA in the nation entering the tournament at 0.71.

Brittny Dennison, a Lee County grad who was The Herald's 2009 Player of the Year, broke open a scoreless game with a fifth-inning RBI that scored Josie Cox, who led off the inning with a triple.

Georgia Perimeter added a two-out unearned run in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings. The score stayed at 1-1 until Egiazarova led off the ninth with her 12th home run of the season.

"We had a nice moment there, but the kids understand we have a whole other game (today)," Dews said. "We are in a good position now because somebody has to beat us twice, but I really don't feel at ease. I don't feel like we have it won."